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AngelRho
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06 Jul 2021, 3:59 pm

I’m curious what the implications are for Ayn Rand’s philosophy and American (or any) foreign policy. Objectivism, in summary, is a philosophy that emphasizes reason, objective reality, individual freedom, and capitalism. With regard to violence, Objectivism promotes non-agression, meaning that unless threatened or forced, individuals should never themselves engage in violence as doing so violates reason. Objectivists believe that violence is only justified if the individual’s life is in danger, and then only when there is no better, reasonable alternative. John Galt, a central character of Atlas Shrugged, is the ideal man and hero in part because he refused to act violently, not even to defend himself, even as his life was threatened. He never asked or expected his friends to rescue him, and he only engaged his enemies intellectually, using their utter lack of reason against them in order to publicly expose them as dangerous people.

Under the principles of non-aggression, reason, and objective reality, it is self-evident that no nation should ever attack another. It also follows from these same principles that every nation has the duty to its citizens to defend itself from foreign invasion in something that might be considered a “just war.” Given these principles:

1. Can colonization be objectively justified?
2. If it is immoral to attack another nation, does it also necessarily follow that it is objectively immoral to conquer another nation?
3. While a government must protect its own citizens, is it not objectively moral to also provide military aid to allies? For example, was the US right to invade Europe and Japan during the World Wars? Japan arguably had it coming after Pearl Harbor, but were the nukes justified? Were demands for cultural change in Japan justified? While it’s easy to justify postwar policy with Japan, interfering in Europe seems a bit tricky. In both World Wars, the United States was late to the party and only expedited the end of combat. Europe didn’t need us and we gained little. By aiding our friends in Europe, is there some possible way that our involvement in the Wars would be objectively justified?
4. Along those same lines, was United States involvement in Korea objective? This becomes an ends justifying the means kind of question. Prior to the war, Korea was divided up essentially as the spoils of war between the US/Soviet Union and the Japanese Empire with the intent that Korea would return to self-rule after a 5-year period. When North Korea invaded, it was unexpected and no one at the time was sure how to respond. The United States had to be concerned with Japan’s vulnerability and was committed to its success and defense. The proximity of Korea to Japan was a threat to American interests and additionally caused concern that the fall of Korea would weaken other small nations’ ability to defend themselves from Communist threats. Objectively speaking, if a nation wishes to become a Communist nation, that is no concern of anyone else. However, in defending and occupying South Korea and protecting its self-rule, the US did successfully achieve the perhaps non-objective goal of maintaining a symbolic presence in east Asia along with the maybe-objective goal of protecting an important ally. Indeed, South Korea has proven enormously successful since the 1980’s and both the USA and South Korea have had a positive symbiotic relationship while North Korea has slowly strangled itself to near death since the 1970’s. Is it objectively good for the US to continue having a military presence there, or should the US withdraw and see what cooks up in the region before deciding whether it serves US interest to stay?

In other words, how close has the United States come to executing foreign policy according to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and how might the United States come closer to confirming to it? Can there be apparent exceptions to non-aggression where friends are concerned? As an example, John Galt’s “gang” led a mission to rescue him after he’d been captured and tortured. These men (plus one woman) clearly deviated from non-aggression by injuring or even killing Galt’s guards. They were under no obligation to save Galt, but did so out of their love for him as he had somewhat “saved” them previously. It would seem that the war in Korea could have been objectively justified under the same principle.

But I am not presuming that Korea, or even Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan qualify NECESSARILY as objectively justifiable, nor can we make assumptions regarding future engagements. How might foreign policy given precedents be improved based on Ayn Rand’s ideas?



Jiheisho
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06 Jul 2021, 4:22 pm

Hopefully, we have moved on from Ayn Rand. We should have better frameworks to answer those questions.



shlaifu
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06 Jul 2021, 6:25 pm

in the second Peloponnesian war, the Athenians decided the island of Melos was strategically important, even though its inhabitants had vowed to stay neutral.
But the problem was that it was also strategic for the Persian invaders. So the Athenians had to conquer it to make sure it wouldn't be conquered by their enemies. the inhabitants of Melos tried to argue with the Athenians, but the Athenians went ahead and killed every man and boy on Melos anyway.

The lesson is that in a game of total annihilation, any means is fair in the name of self defense.
The US is the hegemonic power in the world and leading wars to defend its position. Due to how capitalism works, the only way of self-defense is expansion.

so. yeah. Rand just didn't think far enough - or if she did, she could see her framework would end up devouring itself. But the Rand institute certainly did. and that's how we got a world full of nuclear mussile silos and seemingly pointless wars that go on for decades.


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techstepgenr8tion
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07 Jul 2021, 1:10 am

shlaifu wrote:
in the second Peloponnesian war, the Athenians decided the island of Melos was strategically important, even though its inhabitants had vowed to stay neutral.
But the problem was that it was also strategic for the Persian invaders. So the Athenians had to conquer it to make sure it wouldn't be conquered by their enemies. the inhabitants of Melos tried to argue with the Athenians, but the Athenians went ahead and killed every man and boy on Melos anyway.

The lesson is that in a game of total annihilation, any means is fair in the name of self defense.
The US is the hegemonic power in the world and leading wars to defend its position. Due to how capitalism works, the only way of self-defense is expansion.

so. yeah. Rand just didn't think far enough - or if she did, she could see her framework would end up devouring itself. But the Rand institute certainly did. and that's how we got a world full of nuclear mussile silos and seemingly pointless wars that go on for decades.

Completely agree with the above - multipolar traps essentially destroy any virtuous position without a really, genuinely, serious and permanently serious international body to prevent conquest rather than simply to prevent this type but ignore that or those 'by other means' types.

One of the problems is that no matter how good an alliance can be for five or ten years, situations are constantly changing as are the life circumstances and power differentials of those involved, and it's in the interest of anyone who wants to defect and take the lead in some way to pour money into corrupting such governances - and with shalfu's example above it can range anywhere from being the first aggressor for the sake of it to being one of two or three superpowers who doesn't trust the others not to do it first. This is also how our politics tend downhill without manual correction - ie. it's in the interest of those in power to distort reality and bend institutions to their own interests, otherwise they get beaten by a competitor who will.


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AngelRho
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08 Jul 2021, 7:39 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
in the second Peloponnesian war, the Athenians decided the island of Melos was strategically important, even though its inhabitants had vowed to stay neutral.
But the problem was that it was also strategic for the Persian invaders. So the Athenians had to conquer it to make sure it wouldn't be conquered by their enemies. the inhabitants of Melos tried to argue with the Athenians, but the Athenians went ahead and killed every man and boy on Melos anyway.

The lesson is that in a game of total annihilation, any means is fair in the name of self defense.
The US is the hegemonic power in the world and leading wars to defend its position. Due to how capitalism works, the only way of self-defense is expansion.

so. yeah. Rand just didn't think far enough - or if she did, she could see her framework would end up devouring itself. But the Rand institute certainly did. and that's how we got a world full of nuclear mussile silos and seemingly pointless wars that go on for decades.

Completely agree with the above - multipolar traps essentially destroy any virtuous position without a really, genuinely, serious and permanently serious international body to prevent conquest rather than simply to prevent this type but ignore that or those 'by other means' types.

One of the problems is that no matter how good an alliance can be for five or ten years, situations are constantly changing as are the life circumstances and power differentials of those involved, and it's in the interest of anyone who wants to defect and take the lead in some way to pour money into corrupting such governances - and with shalfu's example above it can range anywhere from being the first aggressor for the sake of it to being one of two or three superpowers who doesn't trust the others not to do it first. This is also how our politics tend downhill without manual correction - ie. it's in the interest of those in power to distort reality and bend institutions to their own interests, otherwise they get beaten by a competitor who will.

That’s one area in which people get the wrong idea about Objectivism. Rational self-interest must be guided by reason. Ayn Rand never put much emphasis on benevolence and generosity, leading people to think her philosophy is cold and cutthroat. The world we live in doesn’t care about us, and when it comes to competition in the marketplace, people just do what they have to do. You accept that a competitor could come in and shut your business down, and that’s your motivation to make sure you always have better goods and services and can outperform them. If you have to resort to underhanded tactics in the marketplace because you sell an inferior product, you have problems. That is not a rational way to do business. Rather, superior goods and services speak for themselves. You don’t buy haute couture from Walmart, and you don’t buy custom-fit underwear from a professional dressmaker for daily use. Used car salesmen will never want for money because it is irrational to buy a Lamborghini or a Bentley to drive to work every day. Those are luxury, high performance vehicles for weekend trips or long distances. You buy those cars for pleasure. It’s stupid to destroy their value by accumulating hundreds of thousands of miles just going to the grocery store. That’s what the $3000 beater is for, and why Bentley will never pose a threat to the used car market.

My point here is that reason favors humility, hence why Objectivists tend to be generous, caring, and optimistic people. The coldness of the philosophy itself comes from the axiom of objective reality as the basis for the philosophy as a whole. It’s easy for outsiders to overlook the point that, for the Objectivist, emotions are WHY we have logic. Human desire is rarely a logical thing. The logic behind desire is in figuring out how to get what we want. That’s the rational source of Objectivist ethics. Because Objectivism emphasizes belief in yourself and optimism, it might lead to outsiders confusing our humility with arrogance. Plus, I think most of the time it’s really just people who are jealous of those who are successful and happy.

When it relate to foreign policy, it’s a question of government versus the marketplace. The Founding Fathers expected a separation of church and state. For the Objectivist, the marketplace (in a different sense) IS the church. Corporations have no place in government, nor does government have a place in the business arena EXCEPT to protect citizens from harm. If a factory is poisoning water needed for a farm, that warrants government action through the justice system. Something is dreadfully wrong when factories and farmers depend on lobbyists to protect their interests in Congress.

Rather, the role of foreign policy is to establish and maintain positive relationships among governments. There is never a rational justification to initiate war against another nation. It is ALWAYS rational for a government to protect its own citizens. Objectivist foreign policy, since it applies to governments rather than the marketplace, would not appear competitive in the same way it would otherwise. Governments would compete to attract talented and hard-working citizens. Borders would be open without restricting immigration. There would be no war because of the non-aggression principle.

It’s the idea of opening up the entire world to trade and free movement of people that might cause problems, plus the fact that you cannot force Objectivism on individuals or groups. Unused, unprotected land is up for grabs. British and French colonists at first engaged in peaceful trade with the Indians. Religious communities had nothing to do with Indians and lived in harmony with them. At some point, the non-aggression principle was violated and, together with other irrational policies, led to war against Native Americans. At our point in history, Indians by far have greater access to a vastly improved way of life compared to what they’d have without American influence. That does not excuse past cruelties to them, of course, but greater opportunities now exist for them. Objectively speaking, it has led to a positive outcome for everyone in the present.

It is the irrational idea that one nation poses a threat to another and rejection of the non-aggression principle that raises ethical issues, and Korea is an excellent case study that demonstrates this conflict. North Korea was temporarily a Soviet puppet state. The war was started over a fear of control by the west, seizing the opportunity when the United States withdrew from South Korea. Communism would have been imposed on South Koreans who did not want it. Does that mean the UN was fighting to support friends? What national or international self-interest was served in doing so? Fighting to stop the spread of Communism is not an Objectivist value or goal. Objectivists seek to fight collectivism INTELLECTUALLY. Protecting territory a nation has a claim to is objective. Fighting someone else’s battles is not. The relationship between the US and South Korea has proven mutually beneficial, hence why I’m struggling to understand how the war is objectively unjustified. The ends justify the means, in other words, which isn’t rational, either. Was Korea really a battle for a foreign power, or did it just work out for the best by sheer coincidence? I’d like to see reunification with the abandonment of northern collectivism, but I’m not sure it’s really my place to tell Korea what to do.

Haha, maybe I’ll find someone on atlassociety.org to ask! :lol:



techstepgenr8tion
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08 Jul 2021, 8:48 am

AngelRho wrote:
That’s one area in which people get the wrong idea about Objectivism. Rational self-interest must be guided by reason. Ayn Rand never put much emphasis on benevolence and generosity, leading people to think her philosophy is cold and cutthroat. The world we live in doesn’t care about us, and when it comes to competition in the marketplace, people just do what they have to do. You accept that a competitor could come in and shut your business down, and that’s your motivation to make sure you always have better goods and services and can outperform them. If you have to resort to underhanded tactics in the marketplace because you sell an inferior product, you have problems. That is not a rational way to do business. Rather, superior goods and services speak for themselves. You don’t buy haute couture from Walmart, and you don’t buy custom-fit underwear from a professional dressmaker for daily use. Used car salesmen will never want for money because it is irrational to buy a Lamborghini or a Bentley to drive to work every day. Those are luxury, high performance vehicles for weekend trips or long distances. You buy those cars for pleasure. It’s stupid to destroy their value by accumulating hundreds of thousands of miles just going to the grocery store. That’s what the $3000 beater is for, and why Bentley will never pose a threat to the used car market.

Any familiarity with Daniel Schmachtenberger?

If not I'd highly recommend listening to some of his discussions on how economics have changed since before the industrial revolution or even the 19th century during it.

A few of the problems we have in terms of economics is that you don't have symmetry between producer and consumer, ie. there's no credible Google users union, Amazon buyers union, Facebook or Twitter users union, etc.. In older times if someone walked into a village to buy shoes there might be five merchants, they could manually inspect their wares and even talk to the person who made the shoe. Multinationals are dense organizations, coordinated in the ways which most of us are from 9-5 or longer, their grasp of their user demographics and marketing is something they spend hundreds of thousands even millions on and similarly if something goes wrong and it's stakeholder harm of some sort that falls in a gray area that would take extensive litigation no one has deep enough pockets to grapple with their legal teams - ie. it's largely a one-sided relationship of multinational with individual / atomized citizens of a neoliberal society.

The other part is that we're not homo economicus, rather we do a lot of our buying of social status-hacking, these companies know that, and they can generate demand by pulling at the fabric and creating social arms-races for their products with the right types of advertising campaign. Sadly if they don't - their competitor will, so it's not even evil, it's just the nature of the territory.

The reason I bring this up - it's important to keep in mind how unbalanced this is and how easy it is for corporate interests to run away with governments through lobbying or run away with the public square in similar manners to which Facebook and Twitter's engagement algorithms helped turn out a bumper crop of flat earthers, anti-vaxers, Q-Anon, and various forms of strange / reactionary right and left wing echo chambers. They showed that if you really want to make money you don't make it on peace, you make it on running down to the bottom of the human limbic system and that's hedging in on our genetic drives - which are that we're here to kill each other over genes (which is a miserable dystopic state that we've spent centuries trying to build guards against).


AngelRho wrote:
My point here is that reason favors humility, hence why Objectivists tend to be generous, caring, and optimistic people. The coldness of the philosophy itself comes from the axiom of objective reality as the basis for the philosophy as a whole. It’s easy for outsiders to overlook the point that, for the Objectivist, emotions are WHY we have logic. Human desire is rarely a logical thing. The logic behind desire is in figuring out how to get what we want. That’s the rational source of Objectivist ethics. Because Objectivism emphasizes belief in yourself and optimism, it might lead to outsiders confusing our humility with arrogance. Plus, I think most of the time it’s really just people who are jealous of those who are successful and happy.

On an individual level, what you 'should' do if you want to be a whole human being living an optimal life and not getting sucked into something like the ecstatic cheers of a Nazi light show rally - that's personal / spiritual development, should be highly condoned not just for being a good citizen but it's just imminently practical if someone wants to live anything like a 'human' life in the Enlightenment secular humanist sense of things.

I'm really coming to the sense that a significant swath of society is considerably more animalistic, and in dealing with them you're forced to deal with more animal rules which use any rule sets given instrumentally, ie. live by the letter because the letter is the weapon and disregard anything else about it. Everything's a practical instrument for them to be used against other apes in the gene race.

This mindset also permeates international affairs and if you're going to do your level best to live 'Jedi' rather than Sith you have to anticipate Sith from everywhere else, ie. sort of the House Atreides in Dune kind of thing.

AngelRho wrote:
When it relate to foreign policy, it’s a question of government versus the marketplace. The Founding Fathers expected a separation of church and state. For the Objectivist, the marketplace (in a different sense) IS the church. Corporations have no place in government, nor does government have a place in the business arena EXCEPT to protect citizens from harm. If a factory is poisoning water needed for a farm, that warrants government action through the justice system. Something is dreadfully wrong when factories and farmers depend on lobbyists to protect their interests in Congress.

Market and activist politics I think are church at this point. It does make me wonder just how much trouble democracy is in in the west.

AngelRho wrote:
Rather, the role of foreign policy is to establish and maintain positive relationships among governments. There is never a rational justification to initiate war against another nation. It is ALWAYS rational for a government to protect its own citizens. Objectivist foreign policy, since it applies to governments rather than the marketplace, would not appear competitive in the same way it would otherwise. Governments would compete to attract talented and hard-working citizens. Borders would be open without restricting immigration. There would be no war because of the non-aggression principle.

Well... if you're a larger country who knows you can invade a smaller resource-rich country and the international community will frown at you but not make any moves, not even tariffs, then it's rational to invade that smaller country.

I hate to say it but - absolute reason is algorithmic and amoral. It's a bit like Grand Theft Auto playing logic if you could really get shot, go to jail, die in a car crash, etc. although it gets less like that and more like Grand Theft Auto when you can send other people's kids to die rather than yourself or your own.

AngelRho wrote:
It’s the idea of opening up the entire world to trade and free movement of people that might cause problems, plus the fact that you cannot force Objectivism on individuals or groups. Unused, unprotected land is up for grabs. British and French colonists at first engaged in peaceful trade with the Indians. Religious communities had nothing to do with Indians and lived in harmony with them. At some point, the non-aggression principle was violated and, together with other irrational policies, led to war against Native Americans. At our point in history, Indians by far have greater access to a vastly improved way of life compared to what they’d have without American influence. That does not excuse past cruelties to them, of course, but greater opportunities now exist for them. Objectively speaking, it has led to a positive outcome for everyone in the present.

What happened with the US Native Americans isn't as severe as what the Tasmanian settlers did to Tasmanian natives, we mostly killed our natives through disease and then a little bit of warfare rather than treating them like dodos. Watching Christians take over land masses and how they treated the peoples who were already there thinly dispersed really showcases what lineage or group selection is and how religion is really in in-group rather than transcendent design in terms of what people actually do with it.

We've I think since the Enlightenment tried to make the charitable ethos of Christianity something more of a global Gemeinschaft, and it has been able to tether people of different races together under agreed upon charity, but it's still more of a cross-sectional percentage than something that staples down charitable rules for engagement because this was happening as increasing numbers of people were leaving the church.

AngelRho wrote:
It is the irrational idea that one nation poses a threat to another and rejection of the non-aggression principle that raises ethical issues, and Korea is an excellent case study that demonstrates this conflict. North Korea was temporarily a Soviet puppet state. The war was started over a fear of control by the west, seizing the opportunity when the United States withdrew from South Korea. Communism would have been imposed on South Koreans who did not want it. Does that mean the UN was fighting to support friends? What national or international self-interest was served in doing so? Fighting to stop the spread of Communism is not an Objectivist value or goal. Objectivists seek to fight collectivism INTELLECTUALLY. Protecting territory a nation has a claim to is objective. Fighting someone else’s battles is not. The relationship between the US and South Korea has proven mutually beneficial, hence why I’m struggling to understand how the war is objectively unjustified. The ends justify the means, in other words, which isn’t rational, either. Was Korea really a battle for a foreign power, or did it just work out for the best by sheer coincidence? I’d like to see reunification with the abandonment of northern collectivism, but I’m not sure it’s really my place to tell Korea what to do.

These things are inherently fuzzy and extremely complex, it's why you could ask ten different experts and not get the same answer twice. People's survival drives will cause differing opinions. People's sense of which type of hegemony is most important (military, economic, political, etc.) is a factor. Where they work and whether the company they work for has some direct relation to the outcome also - clearly - is a factor.


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AngelRho
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08 Jul 2021, 11:11 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
That’s one area in which people get the wrong idea about Objectivism. Rational self-interest must be guided by reason. Ayn Rand never put much emphasis on benevolence and generosity, leading people to think her philosophy is cold and cutthroat. The world we live in doesn’t care about us, and when it comes to competition in the marketplace, people just do what they have to do. You accept that a competitor could come in and shut your business down, and that’s your motivation to make sure you always have better goods and services and can outperform them. If you have to resort to underhanded tactics in the marketplace because you sell an inferior product, you have problems. That is not a rational way to do business. Rather, superior goods and services speak for themselves. You don’t buy haute couture from Walmart, and you don’t buy custom-fit underwear from a professional dressmaker for daily use. Used car salesmen will never want for money because it is irrational to buy a Lamborghini or a Bentley to drive to work every day. Those are luxury, high performance vehicles for weekend trips or long distances. You buy those cars for pleasure. It’s stupid to destroy their value by accumulating hundreds of thousands of miles just going to the grocery store. That’s what the $3000 beater is for, and why Bentley will never pose a threat to the used car market.

Any familiarity with Daniel Schmachtenberger?

If not I'd highly recommend listening to some of his discussions on how economics have changed since before the industrial revolution or even the 19th century during it.

A few of the problems we have in terms of economics is that you don't have symmetry between producer and consumer, ie. there's no credible Google users union, Amazon buyers union, Facebook or Twitter users union, etc.. In older times if someone walked into a village to buy shoes there might be five merchants, they could manually inspect their wares and even talk to the person who made the shoe. Multinationals are dense organizations, coordinated in the ways which most of us are from 9-5 or longer, their grasp of their user demographics and marketing is something they spend hundreds of thousands even millions on and similarly if something goes wrong and it's stakeholder harm of some sort that falls in a gray area that would take extensive litigation no one has deep enough pockets to grapple with their legal teams - ie. it's largely a one-sided relationship of multinational with individual / atomized citizens of a neoliberal society.

The other part is that we're not homo economicus, rather we do a lot of our buying of social status-hacking, these companies know that, and they can generate demand by pulling at the fabric and creating social arms-races for their products with the right types of advertising campaign. Sadly if they don't - their competitor will, so it's not even evil, it's just the nature of the territory.

The reason I bring this up - it's important to keep in mind how unbalanced this is and how easy it is for corporate interests to run away with governments through lobbying or run away with the public square in similar manners to which Facebook and Twitter's engagement algorithms helped turn out a bumper crop of flat earthers, anti-vaxers, Q-Anon, and various forms of strange / reactionary right and left wing echo chambers. They showed that if you really want to make money you don't make it on peace, you make it on running down to the bottom of the human limbic system and that's hedging in on our genetic drives - which are that we're here to kill each other over genes (which is a miserable dystopic state that we've spent centuries trying to build guards against).

I'd love to explore this more in-depth, but it's not my goal to explore economics within this topic. Objectivist government policies do not have a direct relationship with Objectivist economics, so it's not exactly relevant. All I'm going to say on the matter of economics at this time is that cheating is not objective. You're talking about greedy people exploiting ignorant consumers, and that's not what Objectivism is. The best advertising is a superior product, and an objective education on personal economics must include an emphasis on caveat emptor. You mentioned an earlier practice of consumers being able to inspect and judge the quality of goods. One of the problems we have today is that consumers have abdicated any and all rights to judge quality and safety to government agencies, and we all know that government agencies can by bought by bribes and political favors--for instance, legislation bought by campaign contributions that leads to changes in regulatory agency policies that favor one company over another, or administrations that simply decline to enforce one regulation or another for the same purpose. These kinds of things are harmful in obvious ways, whereas if quality control is left to the reasonably educated individual, companies will be more hard pressed to deceive them.

Less long-winded version: Truth and honesty are just easier. If your product sucks, just make a better one. There's no reason anyone should have to wait until they end up opposite a judge in a courtroom to reimburse people for unintentional harm, to recall dangerous products, or otherwise make things right. To get ahead in the world, both producers and consumers mutually accept that to have the best technology NOW means that everything we own is a work in progress--there is no perfect computer that won't be obsolete in 6 months, but even an high end obsolete machine should get you at least 10 years or more of rock solid work. The more honesty we have, the less elaborate advertising has to be, and the better we can weigh risks and benefits of products and services when we are aware of compromises. Dishonest people ultimately end up failing or being destroyed by the justice system. Free market capitalism, which we've never actually had, serves to speed up the process.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
My point here is that reason favors humility, hence why Objectivists tend to be generous, caring, and optimistic people. The coldness of the philosophy itself comes from the axiom of objective reality as the basis for the philosophy as a whole. It’s easy for outsiders to overlook the point that, for the Objectivist, emotions are WHY we have logic. Human desire is rarely a logical thing. The logic behind desire is in figuring out how to get what we want. That’s the rational source of Objectivist ethics. Because Objectivism emphasizes belief in yourself and optimism, it might lead to outsiders confusing our humility with arrogance. Plus, I think most of the time it’s really just people who are jealous of those who are successful and happy.

On an individual level, what you 'should' do if you want to be a whole human being living an optimal life and not getting sucked into something like the ecstatic cheers of a Nazi light show rally - that's personal / spiritual development, should be highly condoned not just for being a good citizen but it's just imminently practical if someone wants to live anything like a 'human' life in the Enlightenment secular humanist sense of things.

I'm really coming to the sense that a significant swath of society is considerably more animalistic, and in dealing with them you're forced to deal with more animal rules which use any rule sets given instrumentally, ie. live by the letter because the letter is the weapon and disregard anything else about it. Everything's a practical instrument for them to be used against other apes in the gene race.

This mindset also permeates international affairs and if you're going to do your level best to live 'Jedi' rather than Sith you have to anticipate Sith from everywhere else, ie. sort of the House Atreides in Dune kind of thing.

I partially agree. What you are observing in society is that people will often prefer to avoid reason and live relativistically. Although...I do believe postmodernism has been dead for a few short years now and we're only now starting to smell its decomposition. The Millennial entitlement mentality was not something I anticipated, but maybe I should have. There's no disagreement on good/evil, right/wrong and how to differentiate. It's more that the older generation has been around to achieve success and enjoy a certain standard of living. They impressed a number of values on people my age and the following generation, namely the importance of college education and education as a whole as a magical skeleton key that opens every door of life without regard to whether those doors even should be open or whether the one holding the key is prepared for what's on the other side. Quite often, there's nothing on the other side, and we're stuck looking for a different door. The truth is there are too many doors to count in order to achieve goals via the vehicle of education, and there are countless millions scrambling to open the same empty doors. Your best bet is to try the unopened doors, but even then you're stuck at the fringes trying to make it work. The most successful people out there are those who found the empty doorways and proceeded to fill them on their own rather than hope to find something already there. At the end, you're left with a generation that doesn't even bother with the key but rather stands crying and banging on the door wondering why it won't open. What nobody sees or wants to see is that there is no rule that says you have to use a key. You can build a battering ram, break the door down, set up shop, and change the lock.

A reasonable person can see that. Those who crowd in front of the same door, those who think a door will open itself by knocking, and those who think doors open with threatening words really are animalistic like that, and it's a mentality that pervades pretty much anything people hope to achieve in life. People expect free food and don't understand why it is privately owned grocery stores aren't breaking down THEIR doors to get it to them. That is a failure of Boomers and THEIR parents, and Gen Xers with all their post-80's angst haven't done millennials any favors. What I expect to happen is the entitlement generation is going to get a hard spanking by life and turn their Youtube-infused DIY intellect into a rugged individualism reminiscent of the Depression-era and WWII veterans. Once the older generation is gone and they understand nobody is left to rescue them, they'll teach their own children and grandchildren a much, much different lesson.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
When it relate to foreign policy, it’s a question of government versus the marketplace. The Founding Fathers expected a separation of church and state. For the Objectivist, the marketplace (in a different sense) IS the church. Corporations have no place in government, nor does government have a place in the business arena EXCEPT to protect citizens from harm. If a factory is poisoning water needed for a farm, that warrants government action through the justice system. Something is dreadfully wrong when factories and farmers depend on lobbyists to protect their interests in Congress.

Market and activist politics I think are church at this point. It does make me wonder just how much trouble democracy is in in the west.

I ask myself that same question.

I don't think "market" is church for the general population. Economic objectivism, or any kind of objectivism, isn't a popular topic. But activist/identity politics? Absolutely. I think even Evangelical Christians fall in that trap without realizing what has happened.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Rather, the role of foreign policy is to establish and maintain positive relationships among governments. There is never a rational justification to initiate war against another nation. It is ALWAYS rational for a government to protect its own citizens. Objectivist foreign policy, since it applies to governments rather than the marketplace, would not appear competitive in the same way it would otherwise. Governments would compete to attract talented and hard-working citizens. Borders would be open without restricting immigration. There would be no war because of the non-aggression principle.

Well... if you're a larger country who knows you can invade a smaller resource-rich country and the international community will frown at you but not make any moves, not even tariffs, then it's rational to invade that smaller country.

I hate to say it but - absolute reason is algorithmic and amoral. It's a bit like Grand Theft Auto playing logic if you could really get shot, go to jail, die in a car crash, etc. although it gets less like that and more like Grand Theft Auto when you can send other people's kids to die rather than yourself or your own.

Absolute reason is not objectively amoral. It's moral. Objectivity cannot exist without a firm, unchanging standard. From reality we get life, and unlike animals, we are guided by reason rather than instinct. The rational drive to hold life as the highest value is the objective standard measure for morality. Therefore, reason is always moral and cannot possibly be anything else. Anything that suggests any alternative morality to objective morality cannot possibly be moral, no matter what it calls itself. I do like your GTA analogy, though, and I think it's worth seriously pondering. I would be proud of my children if they volunteered to protect our nation from foreign invaders. I would be outraged if they were drafted to fight in a foreign country and risk dying a meaningless death. The highest value one can exchange is life for life. Paying the ultimate price is never a sacrifice in the truest sense, but rather an exchange of life for the freedom of those you love most. Americans owe soldiers a debt we'll never be able to repay. The least we can do is pursue excellence and remain a dominant force on the world stage, and that is something only individuals can commit to. To force others into it would run counter to what they died for.

If the United States were invaded by a superior force that offered better protection and justice only in exchange for us providing the necessary resources, and if we undoubtedly would immediately enjoy an improved quality of life, I could accept that. If we were invaded by a force that enslaved us and denied us any benefit from our work, I think I'd rather die.

As it stands, there is no reason to invade the United States. But I am struggling to gain a cohesive understanding of an objective relationship between United States and South Korea. It's confusing because both countries objectively benefitted from the deal--South Korea has military protection from an occupying force that they consent to, they live without any serious threat to their existence, and...I mean, come on? What's NOT good about South Korea? Hyundai, bulgogi, K-Pop, K-drama, kimchi, soju, and "FIGHTIIIING!! !", hello!! ! :lol: Ok, so maybe the smell of their traditional food requires a little adjustment, but S. Korea is freakin' awesome.

I just happen to be a huge fan of all things Korean, I even love the language. It's not an objective thing at all. It's just the best example in a modern context I can come up with. Japan is another good example, but I'm unimpressed with all the hype surrounding Japan. I don't even really enjoy anime anymore like I used to. And it's not like every country the United States touches turns to gold. Germany has long faded from even its Weimar Republic glory, and the prior monarchy and all the relationships and alliances with Austria were from a rich and glorious time. There's something to be said for Bavarian and Czech beer and sausage. The electronic music of Germany and Austria are beyond compare. The fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent reunification of Germany was certainly cause for celebration. But by far Germany is not really a BETTER place than it was prior to the Third Reich. I do think there was a certain glory to the Third Reich, but collectivism is collectivism and the achievements of the Third Reich were bankrupt the whole time. The glory of the Reich is hardly worth celebrating. The destruction of Germany and subsequent division and occupation led to a Germany without any identity at all and the collective destruction of the self esteem of what had been a wonderful nation. If Germany could recapture what they had before Kaiser Wilhelm, it would be the brightest light in Western Europe. Whereas Japan and Korea have thrived in cooperation with the United States, the same can't be said elsewhere. The Iraqi government, as another example, is an obvious benefit to the Iraqi people as opposed to Saddam's regime. So American involvement has benefitted SOME in Iraq. This unfortunately has NOT resulted in a positive, symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship between the US and Iraq or even Iraq and the rest of the world. Afghanistan? Same question--what actual, meaningful benefit have our countries been to each other?

The worst part is these kinds of things cannot assessed until AFTER THE FACT. The Korean war was fought before the United States began their policy of winning the hearts and minds of the people, something they failed to capitalize on early in the Vietnam war. We fought Vietnam with the same thought process as WWII but with limited resources. In the end, the goal was to strengthen THEIR military without consideration for whether the South Vietnamese government was actually worth saving. It clearly wasn't. US policies of appeasement in our time frame worked about as well as British attempts to appease Hitler. Appeasement is a clear violation of one of the Laws of Power: Crush your enemy completely. Fear of a hot, nuclear world war proved too much of a deterrent to achieve lasting success in Vietnam or...really, ANY success. Current military strategies emphasize befriending the enemy and giving them better support than their own government. The Soviets and Chinese used that same strategy in Vietnam. When dealing with an inferior military, it's easy to achieve objectives early in war and close combat operations. But when you cannot get civilians to love and trust you, it doesn't matter how much good you do for them. In the end, you'll always fail.

That's why I think Objectivist foreign relations and diplomacy are vital to the success of peace and prosperity among nations. Calculated risks and commitment to countries such as Japan and Korea MIGHT prove to be objective successes. Success in Europe has proven marginal at best. I don't know if you can even really count Iraq and Afghanistan as successful at all.

On another note, look at what's just happened in Haiti.


techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
It’s the idea of opening up the entire world to trade and free movement of people that might cause problems, plus the fact that you cannot force Objectivism on individuals or groups. Unused, unprotected land is up for grabs. British and French colonists at first engaged in peaceful trade with the Indians. Religious communities had nothing to do with Indians and lived in harmony with them. At some point, the non-aggression principle was violated and, together with other irrational policies, led to war against Native Americans. At our point in history, Indians by far have greater access to a vastly improved way of life compared to what they’d have without American influence. That does not excuse past cruelties to them, of course, but greater opportunities now exist for them. Objectively speaking, it has led to a positive outcome for everyone in the present.

What happened with the US Native Americans isn't as severe as what the Tasmanian settlers did to Tasmanian natives, we mostly killed our natives through disease and then a little bit of warfare rather than treating them like dodos. Watching Christians take over land masses and how they treated the peoples who were already there thinly dispersed really showcases what lineage or group selection is and how religion is really in in-group rather than transcendent design in terms of what people actually do with it.

We've I think since the Enlightenment tried to make the charitable ethos of Christianity something more of a global Gemeinschaft, and it has been able to tether people of different races together under agreed upon charity, but it's still more of a cross-sectional percentage than something that staples down charitable rules for engagement because this was happening as increasing numbers of people were leaving the church.

I think this is mostly a good point. I'm not trying to start a religious discussion...I do that enough as it is! :lol: My question on that note is why were Christians leaving the church in such numbers?

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
It is the irrational idea that one nation poses a threat to another and rejection of the non-aggression principle that raises ethical issues, and Korea is an excellent case study that demonstrates this conflict. North Korea was temporarily a Soviet puppet state. The war was started over a fear of control by the west, seizing the opportunity when the United States withdrew from South Korea. Communism would have been imposed on South Koreans who did not want it. Does that mean the UN was fighting to support friends? What national or international self-interest was served in doing so? Fighting to stop the spread of Communism is not an Objectivist value or goal. Objectivists seek to fight collectivism INTELLECTUALLY. Protecting territory a nation has a claim to is objective. Fighting someone else’s battles is not. The relationship between the US and South Korea has proven mutually beneficial, hence why I’m struggling to understand how the war is objectively unjustified. The ends justify the means, in other words, which isn’t rational, either. Was Korea really a battle for a foreign power, or did it just work out for the best by sheer coincidence? I’d like to see reunification with the abandonment of northern collectivism, but I’m not sure it’s really my place to tell Korea what to do.

These things are inherently fuzzy and extremely complex, it's why you could ask ten different experts and not get the same answer twice. People's survival drives will cause differing opinions. People's sense of which type of hegemony is most important (military, economic, political, etc.) is a factor. Where they work and whether the company they work for has some direct relation to the outcome also - clearly - is a factor.

EXACTLY!! ! And this isn't a point I can effectively defend or come up with a good answer for. The best I can do is ask why anyone would bother with hegemony at all? By appealing to reason alone, one can bypass all that. You solve all your foreign relations issues before you even really have issues. Now, in the case of America, hegemony over Native Americans really was inevitable. Assimilation always was the best and safest response that opened up Indians to the most and best opportunities. The way America went about concentrating Indians on reservations clearly wasn't the best or most effective or even rational route. But it's also a mistake to assert that the Indians never instigated confrontations with Americans. Even at the time slavery was still a legal institution, so you can see just how conforming America was to Objectivist principles. By that I mean Objectivist principles predate Ayn Rand. Heck, they predate Rome. It's just that Ayn Rand compiled these ideas, codified them, gave them a name, and wrote fictional works describing them. I'm not even sure Ayn Rand would even have a good answer for this one. The divide between the two factions of Objectivists is whether Ayn Rand herself believed that the book on Objectivism was closed, and I'm not convinced even she believed there wasn't still work left to do. If I were going to take it to an organization that promotes Ayn Rand's ideas, I'd probably try to avoid anyone lose to Peikoff.



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08 Jul 2021, 3:31 pm

Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.


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08 Jul 2021, 7:28 pm

shlaifu wrote:
Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

I think you missed the point of The Fountainhead. Roarke blew up his building because part of the deal was that he could build according to his vision without interference. Someone interfered. He blew it up. It raises the moral question of artistic integrity, something many artists even in the commercial industry lack. Or musicians who engage in stealing material from great composers and repurpose it for a context for which it was never intended. Or musicians or any artists who express their "feelings" it sounds like a 3-year old banging on piano keys or looks like paint aimlessly slung on convas and call it "original" or innovative. You can almost forgive architects, musicians, and artists who do this on their own initiative, or maybe sometimes destructive works are cathartic and not meant for public consumption. But the most egregious error one can make is abandon the creation of objectively good work for the sake of popular or academic pressures. Roarke's project was not simply a matter of someone stealing his idea and ruining it. His idea was stolen, ruined, and his name was stamped on it. Too bad integrity isn't the value it used to be...

shlaifu wrote:
As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.

Well, sure, if your product is trash and you're insecure about your own.

If you buy up a competing company and just not sell the product, you create a void in which someone else can create a new product. And round and round the mulberry bush we go. It's so stupid because nobody can force a smaller company to sell. People who do sell out really just want the quick money. They don't care that much about their product. So when that happens, boo hoo, that's just evolution doing its job.

The best advertising is the best product, period. All advertising does is help companies get a foot in the door with new products and services. Most people can't afford custom-fit clothing, and you certainly would never wear haute couture dresses or lingerie out in public that you see on the runway. There was a time when you would, but that time is gone. Fashion houses are known for pushing outlandish designs on the runway to draw attention to the ability of the fashion house so that people are more likely to buy their ready-to-wear lines. Of course, many of these show up at Hollywood awards shows and things like that, but that's all it is. When you're good, you're good, and you never have to worry about being run out of business for as long as you choose to stay on top of your game.



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08 Jul 2021, 7:55 pm

AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

I think you missed the point of The Fountainhead. Roarke blew up his building because part of the deal was that he could build according to his vision without interference. Someone interfered. He blew it up. It raises the moral question of artistic integrity, something many artists even in the commercial industry lack. Or musicians who engage in stealing material from great composers and repurpose it for a context for which it was never intended. Or musicians or any artists who express their "feelings" it sounds like a 3-year old banging on piano keys or looks like paint aimlessly slung on convas and call it "original" or innovative. You can almost forgive architects, musicians, and artists who do this on their own initiative, or maybe sometimes destructive works are cathartic and not meant for public consumption. But the most egregious error one can make is abandon the creation of objectively good work for the sake of popular or academic pressures. Roarke's project was not simply a matter of someone stealing his idea and ruining it. His idea was stolen, ruined, and his name was stamped on it. Too bad integrity isn't the value it used to be...

shlaifu wrote:
As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.

Well, sure, if your product is trash and you're insecure about your own.

If you buy up a competing company and just not sell the product, you create a void in which someone else can create a new product. And round and round the mulberry bush we go. It's so stupid because nobody can force a smaller company to sell. People who do sell out really just want the quick money. They don't care that much about their product. So when that happens, boo hoo, that's just evolution doing its job.

The best advertising is the best product, period. All advertising does is help companies get a foot in the door with new products and services. Most people can't afford custom-fit clothing, and you certainly would never wear haute couture dresses or lingerie out in public that you see on the runway. There was a time when you would, but that time is gone. Fashion houses are known for pushing outlandish designs on the runway to draw attention to the ability of the fashion house so that people are more likely to buy their ready-to-wear lines. Of course, many of these show up at Hollywood awards shows and things like that, but that's all it is. When you're good, you're good, and you never have to worry about being run out of business for as long as you choose to stay on top of your game.


I got what Fountainhead was about. my god, the guy holds a half hour monologue about it. The fairy tale is that a half hour monologue about artistic integrity will get you out of a court case for blowing up a social housing project. I have a diploma in design and a master's from an art academy, btw.
There's a difference between design and art.
Design has to fulfill a specific job.
An architect is a designer, not an artist. And if a housing project can have balconies, but the architect who doesn't live there doesn't want balconies because he thinks his artistic vision is more important than the quality of life for the people living there, he can go to hell.
or fine-art academy.
Rourke is a narcissistic twat who thinks his integrity is more important than human lives.


The best advertising is the best advertising, the product hardly matters.
If your company is publicly traded, anyone can buy it. it's called a hostile take-over.
if the thing you are now no longer selling was patebted, you have bought the patent, and there is no niche for a new product. you have effectively eradicated competition. Happens all the time.
Capitalism has a tendency towards monopoly, and there's regulations but of course, if there's profit to be gained, a capitalist is necessarily incentivised to work around them, by legal means or not, and you end up where we are now: with giant global corporations and every year you get a new phone with a sharper display and even Tim Cook is struggling to come up with arguments for buying a new phone.


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08 Jul 2021, 8:33 pm

shlaifu wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

I think you missed the point of The Fountainhead. Roarke blew up his building because part of the deal was that he could build according to his vision without interference. Someone interfered. He blew it up. It raises the moral question of artistic integrity, something many artists even in the commercial industry lack. Or musicians who engage in stealing material from great composers and repurpose it for a context for which it was never intended. Or musicians or any artists who express their "feelings" it sounds like a 3-year old banging on piano keys or looks like paint aimlessly slung on convas and call it "original" or innovative. You can almost forgive architects, musicians, and artists who do this on their own initiative, or maybe sometimes destructive works are cathartic and not meant for public consumption. But the most egregious error one can make is abandon the creation of objectively good work for the sake of popular or academic pressures. Roarke's project was not simply a matter of someone stealing his idea and ruining it. His idea was stolen, ruined, and his name was stamped on it. Too bad integrity isn't the value it used to be...

shlaifu wrote:
As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.

Well, sure, if your product is trash and you're insecure about your own.

If you buy up a competing company and just not sell the product, you create a void in which someone else can create a new product. And round and round the mulberry bush we go. It's so stupid because nobody can force a smaller company to sell. People who do sell out really just want the quick money. They don't care that much about their product. So when that happens, boo hoo, that's just evolution doing its job.

The best advertising is the best product, period. All advertising does is help companies get a foot in the door with new products and services. Most people can't afford custom-fit clothing, and you certainly would never wear haute couture dresses or lingerie out in public that you see on the runway. There was a time when you would, but that time is gone. Fashion houses are known for pushing outlandish designs on the runway to draw attention to the ability of the fashion house so that people are more likely to buy their ready-to-wear lines. Of course, many of these show up at Hollywood awards shows and things like that, but that's all it is. When you're good, you're good, and you never have to worry about being run out of business for as long as you choose to stay on top of your game.


I got what Fountainhead was about. my god, the guy holds a half hour monologue about it. The fairy tale is that a half hour monologue about artistic integrity will get you out of a court case for blowing up a social housing project. I have a diploma in design and a master's from an art academy, btw.
There's a difference between design and art.
Design has to fulfill a specific job.
An architect is a designer, not an artist. And if a housing project can have balconies, but the architect who doesn't live there doesn't want balconies because he thinks his artistic vision is more important than the quality of life for the people living there, he can go to hell.
or fine-art academy.
Rourke is a narcissistic twat who thinks his integrity is more important than human lives.


The best advertising is the best advertising, the product hardly matters.
If your company is publicly traded, anyone can buy it. it's called a hostile take-over.
if the thing you are now no longer selling was patebted, you have bought the patent, and there is no niche for a new product. you have effectively eradicated competition. Happens all the time.
Capitalism has a tendency towards monopoly, and there's regulations but of course, if there's profit to be gained, a capitalist is necessarily incentivised to work around them, by legal means or not, and you end up where we are now: with giant global corporations and every year you get a new phone with a sharper display and even Tim Cook is struggling to come up with arguments for buying a new phone.

Best advertising is the best advertising, huh? Cool story, bro. How profitable was Duke Nukem Forever back in 1997? How well is GRRM's Winds Of Winter novel selling?



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08 Jul 2021, 8:59 pm

AngelRho wrote:
EXACTLY!! ! And this isn't a point I can effectively defend or come up with a good answer for. The best I can do is ask why anyone would bother with hegemony at all? By appealing to reason alone, one can bypass all that. You solve all your foreign relations issues before you even really have issues.

Oh, if we lived in an aspie world...


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08 Jul 2021, 10:48 pm

AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

I think you missed the point of The Fountainhead. Roarke blew up his building because part of the deal was that he could build according to his vision without interference. Someone interfered. He blew it up. It raises the moral question of artistic integrity, something many artists even in the commercial industry lack. Or musicians who engage in stealing material from great composers and repurpose it for a context for which it was never intended. Or musicians or any artists who express their "feelings" it sounds like a 3-year old banging on piano keys or looks like paint aimlessly slung on convas and call it "original" or innovative. You can almost forgive architects, musicians, and artists who do this on their own initiative, or maybe sometimes destructive works are cathartic and not meant for public consumption. But the most egregious error one can make is abandon the creation of objectively good work for the sake of popular or academic pressures. Roarke's project was not simply a matter of someone stealing his idea and ruining it. His idea was stolen, ruined, and his name was stamped on it. Too bad integrity isn't the value it used to be...

shlaifu wrote:
As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.

Well, sure, if your product is trash and you're insecure about your own.

If you buy up a competing company and just not sell the product, you create a void in which someone else can create a new product. And round and round the mulberry bush we go. It's so stupid because nobody can force a smaller company to sell. People who do sell out really just want the quick money. They don't care that much about their product. So when that happens, boo hoo, that's just evolution doing its job.

The best advertising is the best product, period. All advertising does is help companies get a foot in the door with new products and services. Most people can't afford custom-fit clothing, and you certainly would never wear haute couture dresses or lingerie out in public that you see on the runway. There was a time when you would, but that time is gone. Fashion houses are known for pushing outlandish designs on the runway to draw attention to the ability of the fashion house so that people are more likely to buy their ready-to-wear lines. Of course, many of these show up at Hollywood awards shows and things like that, but that's all it is. When you're good, you're good, and you never have to worry about being run out of business for as long as you choose to stay on top of your game.


I got what Fountainhead was about. my god, the guy holds a half hour monologue about it. The fairy tale is that a half hour monologue about artistic integrity will get you out of a court case for blowing up a social housing project. I have a diploma in design and a master's from an art academy, btw.
There's a difference between design and art.
Design has to fulfill a specific job.
An architect is a designer, not an artist. And if a housing project can have balconies, but the architect who doesn't live there doesn't want balconies because he thinks his artistic vision is more important than the quality of life for the people living there, he can go to hell.
or fine-art academy.
Rourke is a narcissistic twat who thinks his integrity is more important than human lives.


The best advertising is the best advertising, the product hardly matters.
If your company is publicly traded, anyone can buy it. it's called a hostile take-over.
if the thing you are now no longer selling was patebted, you have bought the patent, and there is no niche for a new product. you have effectively eradicated competition. Happens all the time.
Capitalism has a tendency towards monopoly, and there's regulations but of course, if there's profit to be gained, a capitalist is necessarily incentivised to work around them, by legal means or not, and you end up where we are now: with giant global corporations and every year you get a new phone with a sharper display and even Tim Cook is struggling to come up with arguments for buying a new phone.

Best advertising is the best advertising, huh? Cool story, bro. How profitable was Duke Nukem Forever back in 1997? How well is GRRM's Winds Of Winter novel selling?


The advertising for Duke Nukem Forever in 1997 was good enough for it to turn out profitable 14 years later, while being a pretty sh***y game.
I can't be bothered to google what the other thing is.
I'm sure it's some vaporware that turns Objectivism into a fully formed philosophical framework rather than the uninformed I-don't-need-to-read-philosophy-those-were-all-subjectivists-who-didn't-have-science set of ideas it is.
If Rand had read some philosophy, she would have realized that tje very basis of her ideas, objectivity and rationality, were hotly debated for thousands of years and the debate was pretty much settled by Kant. Rand's philosophy simply doesn't have a leg to stand on, which is why she never entered into any philosophical canon or anything and she isn't debated academically. Maybe if she had come 250 years earlier, she could have added to the debate, but in the middle of the twentieth century, and refusing to acknowledge what came before her, Rand is for teenage boys who think they are born to be very stable geniuses, many people say, the best geniuses.


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09 Jul 2021, 11:17 am

shlaifu wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
shlaifu wrote:
Ayn Rand wrote a book about an architect who blows up a social housing project because the funding body added balconies. And then he holds a bizarre speech in court, in which he admits to the deed out of arrogance, and the case is dropped.
Ayn Rand wrote silly fairy-tales for teenage boys.

I think you missed the point of The Fountainhead. Roarke blew up his building because part of the deal was that he could build according to his vision without interference. Someone interfered. He blew it up. It raises the moral question of artistic integrity, something many artists even in the commercial industry lack. Or musicians who engage in stealing material from great composers and repurpose it for a context for which it was never intended. Or musicians or any artists who express their "feelings" it sounds like a 3-year old banging on piano keys or looks like paint aimlessly slung on convas and call it "original" or innovative. You can almost forgive architects, musicians, and artists who do this on their own initiative, or maybe sometimes destructive works are cathartic and not meant for public consumption. But the most egregious error one can make is abandon the creation of objectively good work for the sake of popular or academic pressures. Roarke's project was not simply a matter of someone stealing his idea and ruining it. His idea was stolen, ruined, and his name was stamped on it. Too bad integrity isn't the value it used to be...

shlaifu wrote:
As to competing in the marketplace: creating the best product is only one way to win out against the competition. Buying up the competing company and just not selling their product anymore is also a way. It might make financial sense to do that. Amazon famously sold diapers at a massive loss, until diapers.com went bankrupt, and amazon took over the web domain name. If you are competing against a company as big as amazon, it basically doesn't matter how good your product is. It really rarely does.
The market is only measuring what gets bought, not what is the best product.
So you need to get people to buy your product. It's smarter to invest in advertising than in product development. Because it turns out, to win in the marketplace, people just need to buy your thing, it doesn't need to be the best.

Well, sure, if your product is trash and you're insecure about your own.

If you buy up a competing company and just not sell the product, you create a void in which someone else can create a new product. And round and round the mulberry bush we go. It's so stupid because nobody can force a smaller company to sell. People who do sell out really just want the quick money. They don't care that much about their product. So when that happens, boo hoo, that's just evolution doing its job.

The best advertising is the best product, period. All advertising does is help companies get a foot in the door with new products and services. Most people can't afford custom-fit clothing, and you certainly would never wear haute couture dresses or lingerie out in public that you see on the runway. There was a time when you would, but that time is gone. Fashion houses are known for pushing outlandish designs on the runway to draw attention to the ability of the fashion house so that people are more likely to buy their ready-to-wear lines. Of course, many of these show up at Hollywood awards shows and things like that, but that's all it is. When you're good, you're good, and you never have to worry about being run out of business for as long as you choose to stay on top of your game.


I got what Fountainhead was about. my god, the guy holds a half hour monologue about it. The fairy tale is that a half hour monologue about artistic integrity will get you out of a court case for blowing up a social housing project. I have a diploma in design and a master's from an art academy, btw.
There's a difference between design and art.
Design has to fulfill a specific job.
An architect is a designer, not an artist. And if a housing project can have balconies, but the architect who doesn't live there doesn't want balconies because he thinks his artistic vision is more important than the quality of life for the people living there, he can go to hell.
or fine-art academy.
Rourke is a narcissistic twat who thinks his integrity is more important than human lives.


The best advertising is the best advertising, the product hardly matters.
If your company is publicly traded, anyone can buy it. it's called a hostile take-over.
if the thing you are now no longer selling was patebted, you have bought the patent, and there is no niche for a new product. you have effectively eradicated competition. Happens all the time.
Capitalism has a tendency towards monopoly, and there's regulations but of course, if there's profit to be gained, a capitalist is necessarily incentivised to work around them, by legal means or not, and you end up where we are now: with giant global corporations and every year you get a new phone with a sharper display and even Tim Cook is struggling to come up with arguments for buying a new phone.

Best advertising is the best advertising, huh? Cool story, bro. How profitable was Duke Nukem Forever back in 1997? How well is GRRM's Winds Of Winter novel selling?


The advertising for Duke Nukem Forever in 1997 was good enough for it to turn out profitable 14 years later, while being a pretty sh***y game.
I can't be bothered to google what the other thing is.
I'm sure it's some vaporware that turns Objectivism into a fully formed philosophical framework rather than the uninformed I-don't-need-to-read-philosophy-those-were-all-subjectivists-who-didn't-have-science set of ideas it is.
If Rand had read some philosophy, she would have realized that tje very basis of her ideas, objectivity and rationality, were hotly debated for thousands of years and the debate was pretty much settled by Kant. Rand's philosophy simply doesn't have a leg to stand on, which is why she never entered into any philosophical canon or anything and she isn't debated academically. Maybe if she had come 250 years earlier, she could have added to the debate, but in the middle of the twentieth century, and refusing to acknowledge what came before her, Rand is for teenage boys who think they are born to be very stable geniuses, many people say, the best geniuses.

Ayn Rand had the unfortunate problem of being mostly right about everything. Emphasis on MOSTLY. What used to count as the intellectual world has largely been taken over by looters, parasites, envy, and greed. I’m sure you’ll understand that I prefer to draw my own conclusions and am not inclined to take those corrupted strands of philosophy seriously.

What I’m more interested in is how Objectivism resolves the apparent contradiction between non-aggression and the successes of colonization, occupation, and liberation. Native Americans objectively benefitted from European activity in North America at first. We can debate at length whether colonial and later American retaliation was justified. We know that the British colluded with indigenous people to destabilize colonial governments in order to maintain control, but, giving both sides the benefit of the doubt, it’s difficult to say whether later actions against Indians was justified: Trail of Tears, as an example, which was clearly excessive, but might have been predicated on policy that was originally necessary and reasonable. We all know about racism in 1800’s USA. Following the Civil War and protecting Indian autonomy on the reservations, they have every bit as much access to education and opportunity as any other American. They are objectively better off at our point in history, so their ACTUAL welfare depends on tribal governance as a collective, and I’ve known for some time that “elected” chiefs are not always exactly pure as driven snow. The sometimes collectivist nature of the reservations does limit access to wealth and opportunity in that the poorest of natives lack the incentive to reach beyond political boundaries. I grew up near a large Choctaw reservation. I’m quite familiar with their way of life, and my Choctaw friends have let me in on many of the public secrets of tribal politics. I haven’t been as well connected with the Choctaw in the last 20 years, so I’m curious as to what has changed in that time. Collectivism is always harmful, perhaps more so in the form of ethnic, racial, and cultural division, but at least natives have the option of educating themselves and leaving if they want to.

South Korea has enjoyed objective benefits since being involved with the United States. NorKs showed a massive growth and improvement in quality of life on into the 1970’s while South Korea was, well, TRASH. The NorKs were running victory laps around the west until the money ran dry. Meanwhile, same as with Japan but later, western investment in South Korea completely overshadowed anything the NorKs could have conceived in their wildest wet dreams. The North Korean coast is frozen in time now. Without western relations, South Korea might be worse off, especially had the North succeeded in reunification.

Germany, not so much, though as we’ve seen from East German experience it could have been much worse.

In some cases, as I’ve mentioned before, American occupation has NOT resulted in any obvious benefit besides the liberation of weak nations from oppressive regimes. What good did Iraq do the US? How has Afghanistan repaid us for all the soldiers who died there? PTSD is a freaking joke of a disease. It’s DEATH. Those veterans are walking dead, and for what benefit did they exchange their sanity?

Objectivism does not allow for contradictions. Rand said that if you think you’ve found a contradiction, check your premises. One of them is wrong. So, to summarize:

1. No objective benefit can come from violating non-aggression.
2. Native Americans, South Koreans, and MAYBE Germans HAVE benefitted from American violation of non-aggression.
3. Either non-aggression is wrong, or nations don’t ACTUALLY benefit from aggression.

Given the contradictory premises, the conclusion is irrelevant. I could have just made up gibberish.

How do we reasonably harmonize the violation of non aggression of the major premise 1 with the fact of the minor premise 2? What would be a non-fallacious conclusion be for 3?

Perhaps I could take a stab at it and reword the minor premise somewhat:
2. Native Americans, South Koreans, and MAYBE Germans HAVE benefitted from American involvement.

So what is the conclusion?
3. Therefore, American foreign involvement is not in violation of the non-aggression principle.

But my conclusion doesn’t “feel” quite right. I’m missing something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Now, I’m well aware of what circular reasoning is, so I’m not interested in discussing whether my premises are assuming something I have to prove. The axioms I’m working with belong to Objectivism, so a discussion on the merits or validity of Objectivism belongs in a different topic. What I’m interested in is the relationship between Objectivist non-aggression and US foreign policy. I’m not assuming that US foreign policy itself IS Objectivist—it clearly isn’t. However, the Biblical prohibition against murder is reflected in western laws that also prohibit murder, so does that make western nations religious? No. If the USA were to consciously craft foreign policy around Objectivist principles, is it ethical to bypass non-aggression if the results are mutual beneficial, such as Native Americans, Japan, South Korea, or Germany? Put another way, if the results are in like way positive, does it mean that foreign intervention is objectively ethical BECAUSE specific interventions don’t actually violate the non-aggression principle? This question is important because of the No True Scotsman fallacy, or the If By Whisky argument. NTS is not fallacious if it is possible to consistently define exactly what a Scotsman is and avoid moving goalposts. The Euthyphro (false) dilemma is fueled by the ability to show what piety LOOKS LIKE while failing to clearly define what it IS.

With that in mind, it follows that no ethical benefit comes from aggression. Therefore, the UN did not act aggressively in the objective sense by intervening in Korea. Again...I’m not entirely comfortable with this reasoning. What would be a proper Objectivist answer to this apparent contradiction? Or am I actually on the right track and the US/UN never actually violated NAP in Korea? The same cannot possibly be said for Iraq or Afghanistan, at least not at this point in history. Can a determination only be made after the fact? How would that not be post hoc? These are the kinds of things I’m trying to get to the bottom of, and I’m not sure what it is I’m missing.



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09 Jul 2021, 11:50 am

Side note regarding the Choctaw...

What I’ve witnessed was ethnic collectivism in action. While passing through a reservation one night, my wife accidentally hit a deer. Because of the amount of damage, we needed to call the highway patrol. The doe was still alive, so the patrolman had to “finish it off.” My wife was horrified, but...well, what could anybody do? While we were there, the patrolman approached a nearby house. The Choctaw man and his wife came out to retrieve carcass and thank us for helping them.

The experience was wild for me because even though I’d known Choctaws my age and had heard things from people, and I knew enough people who had no love for Choctaws and had to take that with mountain-sized grains of salt (for various reasons not excluding racism, but also everyone knew my brother had been killed by a Choctaw), this experience got me out of my sociology class and into reality. First off, no game warden would have ever allowed a white person to get away with something like that, i.e. collecting roadkill, and I was face to face with people who lived by special rules that would never apply to me. Second, that the REASON for it was that welfare resources are spread so thin across native populations that law enforcement will happily help scrape up roadkill if it will help supplement their diet. I begrudge no one that, and that’s not my point—it’s irrational to waste the meat, anyway. It’s just hearing about it and wondering if it’s really true and then seeing it firsthand and even being an unwitting participant makes the whole thing surreal. My wife who was terrified of hitting the doe in the first place, horrified when hp shot the poor thing multiple times to put it down, and then people ACTUALLY collecting it to eat it, looked at me and asked me if that actually happened or if we just dreamed it. For the record, these are good people who deserve better than what they get.



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09 Jul 2021, 12:51 pm

You saying native Americans OBJECTIVELY benefitted from European activity - as if colonisation was optional, and 50 Million dead in the Americand somehow seperable from "European activity" - is basically why philosophy looks at Ayn Rand and comments: she's not just wrong, she's amazing in that the exact opposite of what she says is almost always right.

Demanding the hundreds of thousands of dead Afghans be thankful for the American invasion is OBJECTIVELY tasteless.

and regarding your roadkill anecdote: calling it "roadkill" when the heavily injured animal needed to be shot... it sounds totally edible to me. like, I don't see the difference to an animal that was shot for food without getting hit by a car first. But I'm not a hysteric American.


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